Previewed 28 August 2008, Opened 9 September 2008, Closed 20 December 2008 st the Apollo Theatre in London
A stage production of the 1988 multi Oscar winning film Rain Man in London starring Josh Hartnett and Adam Godley
Charlie Babbitt is a self-centred Los Angeles-based automobile dealer and hustler, who is at war with his own life. Relationships are not Charlie's strong suit and love is quite outside his experience. Raymond is the elder brother Charlie never knew he had and an autistic savant who has been hidden away in an institution for most of his adult life. Raymond is dysfunctional in many senses, but - as Charlie is soon to discover - also touched with a kind of stellar genius which Charlie harnesses to save his business. The two brothers embark on a rollercoaster journey together which shows Raymond a world beyond the hospital gates and Charlie the meaning of unconditional love.
Writer Dan Gordon and director David Grindley have radically re-imagined the film of Rain Man for this stage production in London, resetting this timeless story in the present day.
The cast for Rain Man in London features Josh Hartnett as 'Charlie' and Adam Godley as 'Raymond' along with Tilly Blackwood, Charles Daish, Colin Stinton and Mary Stockley. Adapted for the stage by Dan Gordon based on the MGM motion picture with story by Barry Morrow. Directed by Terry Johnson with designs by Jonanthan Fensom, lighting by Jason Taylor and sound by Fergus O'Hare. David Grindley was originally scheduled to direct, but at the start of rehearsals had to withdraw from the production due to family reasons.
"[Josh Hartnett] dominates the stage like a true Hollywood alpha male, wound up taut with bitterness and sometimes positively threatening - his icy emotional distance from the rest of the world as crippling as his autistic brother's. As Raymond, Adam Godley shuffles about awkwardly, clacking his skinny white fingers as if he's playing invisible castanets... By the end Charlie has begun to learn something like brotherly love - a wholly new experience for him, as Hartnett's increasingly complex performance suggests - while Raymond hints at some capacity for emotional attachment... Dan Gordon's skilful stage adaptation was most certainly worthwhile." The Sunday Times
"Not surprisingly in Terry Johnson's new production of Rain Man, heart throb Josh Hartnett is proving a big draw. He plays Charlie Babbit, the tough, broke car salesman who left home in his teens when his dad had him arrested for borrowing his car. When his father dies, leaving him the same car, Charlie finds out that the 'imaginary' childhood friend he used to call Rain Man is actually his autistic savant brother, Raymond, who his father put in a care home when very young and who is now the beneficiary of the family fortune. Harnett is perfectly competent, if vocally fraught. His character finds his softer centre, learns to say that difficult love word and, most important, discovers a true connection with his brother: that they are both damaged and similarly hard to reach. More arresting, though, is Adam Godley's superbly funny and affecting portrayal of obsessive Raymond, physically and emotionally all corners, incapable of eye-contact, allergic to being touched but with the awesome ability to memorise and reproduce the phone book.... Nothing changes the fact that the play is thin pickings wrapped up with a schmaltzy Hollywood ending, but good performances fatten it up nicely." The Mail on Sunday
"It's often hard to see the point of turning well-known films into plays, and Rain Man is no exception. The constraints of a theatre stage naturally means this classic road movie ends up shorn of its road — and poorer for it... Dan Gordon's lacklustre script keeps the movie's good lines and adds some updates... But under Terry Johnson's direction, the whole thing fails to flow. This is emphasised by an awkward Josh Hartnett, who struggles with the exigencies of stage acting — what are clearly intended to be pregnant pauses are so empty of emotion it seems more as though Hartnett has just forgotten his lines... Adam Godley's Raymond is impressive, sufficiently distanced from Dustin Hoffman's Oscar-winning interpretation and at times quite touching. But even the shambling grace he brings to his role can't save this production from seeming pretty limp." The London Metro
Josh Hartnett said: "It has always been my intent to work on the London stage. While I've had many opportunities it was only when I read the complex and charismatic character of Charlie Babbitt that I knew the time was right. I feel very fortunate to make my London bow with such an esteemed producer and director and I'm also looking forward to working with Adam Godley, who is such an extraordinary talent. Can't wait to live and work in London a city I adore!"
Adam Godley said: "I saw [the film when it came out and I have a sort of impressionistic memory of it. That's it. I want to find my Raymond and it's just not helpful to have that input from someone else's performance. Certain other people have quoted them to me but Dustin Hoffman's delivery of certain lines genuinely isn't in my consciousness. So I don't hear that voice. The job for me is to find the autistic savant version of Adam Godley. He's definitely in there."
The 1988 MGM film Rain Man starred Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. The film received 8 Oscar nominations and won 4 - for 'Best Picture', 'Best Actor', 'Best Director' and 'Best Original Screenplay'.
Rain Man in London at the Apollo Theatre previewed from 28 August 2008, opened on 9 September 2008, and closed on 20 December 2008